Tag Archive for 'stuffed artichokes'

Romano Stuffed Artichokes

Some weeks you just can’t hide from your past, it finds you. That’s not necessarily a horrible thing; it is just a fact. This was in fact an unexpected theme throughout my week. It was subtle at first, hardly noticeable, until I attended my son’s open house. I know that it may sound odd, but when I reflected back I realized that three things had rekindled my past. A photo from 2014 that appeared in my FaceBook memory feed transported me back in time to the avocado incident. This mistake and all of the complications it brought with it was in many ways the primer for what was to follow a few years later. An abundance of memories came flooding back into my consciousness.

Upon attending Secondo’s open house, I casually flipped through his work when I came across his adapted poem and I was again reminded of my battle with cancer. On most days of the year it’s something I can put aside, but I know from glimpses into their homework that it is a weight my children carry with them that seeps out into many aspects their lives. While I try to live a life that assures them that is in the past, to convey with my actions that all is well, that I am fine, I do see their stolen glances and need for reassurance. Their pain and worry is disguised in a good night kiss, written in their poems/research papers and surfaced in stories they tell. And while I made it past the FaceBook memory, the poem I read at Secondo’s open house made me take a deep breath, or maybe I was holding my breath.

Where I’m From

By George Alan Lyon

Adapted by ‘Secondo’

I am from Golden Gate fog and feeding my dog,

From dihydrogen monoxide and fur,

I am from my room.

Dense air, with desk and chair.

I am from the oak trees,

Eucalyptus and rosemary.

Whose evergreen glow radiates

And joyful tone illuminates.

I’m from swordfish and video games

From Mati and Tobia

I’m from “See ya”,

“What time is it”,

From “knock it off” and “sit up straight”

I’m from my lord and savior,

Prayer and community,

Qui incrememtum et animae meae.

I’m from Tom Vano and Virginia Anderlini,

Mushroom risotto and pork chops with paprika.

From the cancer,

Death of loved ones.

To those who dispersed,

With them above.

The cruise along the Mediterranean Sea

Close family relaxing in sweet harmony

A tranquil escape from responsibility

A brief moment of peace, in memory I weep.

It was remarkable, I had almost made it through this week with strong emotional undertones, and then, much to my frustration I was asked to write a response, a couple of paragraphs, to my son’s science in the news report…..at 10pm on a Thursday night! It had been a long day, long week, and I was tired. I opted to take it with me to bed and read it there. I was undeniably annoyed. Entirely to my surprise, the paper was about three very important topics to him – my breast cancer, my mother’s diabetes and his late great-grandmother’s Alzheimers. I was stopped cold in my tracks. He was carrying the weight of the universe on his shoulders. I cried. Cried for all the good in his soul, his love for those around him, his desire to learn how to remove these illnesses from the roster and his ability to tie them into one well-written document in a way that was articulate and relatable.

Most days I wonder if I make a difference. The teenage years are challenging on parents and children. He is often the quieter of the two children and often times more difficult to gauge. To know that he cares well beyond what he shares with me in conversations and that he is reflective of the world around him and able to cope through his words to work on those things that he struggles with is something I couldn’t be more proud of.

The combined sum of these three things reminded me, on the heels of Mother’s Day, about how lucky I am to be their mother and how blessed I am to be here for these moments, even the ones that I am seemingly too tired to cope with but somehow manage to.

There is not putting lipstick on a pig, this is a window into my soul. Feeling emotional and rejuvenated I wanted to get back to creating fun food. It’s something Prima and Secondo always appreciate. This isn’t a very time consuming recipe, which is what makes it such a great weeknight recipe.

Romano Stuffed Artichokes


6 artichokes

6 cloves garlic, pressed

1 ½ cups shredded Romano cheese

2 lemons, quartered

olive oil

salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the stem of the artichokes. Cut about 1 inch off of the top of each one. Using kitchen scissors, snip off he ends of the artichokes removing the sharp edges or thorns.

Use two of the lemon wedges to run lemon juice over the cut portion of the artichoke to prevent it from browning. Spread open the petals and rub a full clove of garlic into each artichoke. Add the parsley and ¼ cup Romano cheese, pressing it down into the leaves, and in between the petals.

Place each artichoke in a square of aluminum foil. Season to taste with salt, pepper. Squeeze a lemon wedge over each artichoke and drizzle with olive oil, then wrap and seal the foil around each artichoke.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, for large artichokes. For medium sized artichokes, bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before removing from foil. Place on a warmed plate and drizzle with liquid from the foil packets.

Cooking from the heart – friendship & artichokes

I think it was a chance meeting that we became friends, freshman year at college during orientation week – there were some mutual ‘friends’ involved in the introduction and there was nothing particularly poignant about our first conversation but I remember that she seemed like someone I would enjoy hanging out with – she had a great smile, perfect teeth, long dark curly hair, a contagious laugh AND she was one of the other five brunettes on the campus field that day. (Just on the merit of her undyed hair I needed to make this alliance work. If you’ve ever been to SoCal you’ll know that if you are not blond, you are an oddity.) How or when we actually became true friends happened months later, but often beginnings are simple and this one was no different except that this is our story. And of course I’ve locked many of the zesty stories in my ‘vault’ because this post is not about the lurid details of my past indiscretions with one of my dear friends (which would certainly gain a greater blog following but I refuse to sell out….just yet) but it is about how we cooked together and have shared years of food at restaurants, cafes and in our various kitchens over the years. She is an excellent cook and I treasure our weekends spent discovering what we will cook – so when I proposed that we jump into vlogging together for www.bowllicker.com she surprised me and said, “Let’s do it!”

(Sorry folks, our featured cook became a bit shy and asked to have this vlog tucked back into the vault- good news is that her amazing recipe remains here and is one of my favorites.)

Lebanese Stuffed Artichokes alla Sue Barkett Zumout


4 medium-sized artichokes
1lb. ground top sirloin 90% lean
1lb. ground top sirloin 80% lean
1 cup rice
3 large red onions, 1 quartered & 2 sliced thinly
1/8 small size sweet red pepper (seeded)
1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed/dried & loosely packed
2 Yukon Gold Potatoes, sliced rounds ¼ inch thick
6 cups tomato juice
1 (8 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 TBS allspice
2 tsps cumin
1 TBS Kosher Salt
2 tsp black pepper


In a food processor, add one large quartered onion, mint and red pepper. Mix until pureed. Place meat in a large mixing bowl. Add pureed mixture, uncooked rice, allspice, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well (preferably by hand.) Place in refrigerator.

To clean artichokes, start by cutting the stem off the bottom. Remove all small or dry leaves at the base of the artichoke that may be too tough to eat. To remove the sharp thorns, snip off the tips of the leaves with a pair of scissors. Use a serrated knife to cut and flatten out the top of the artichoke. To open the artichoke and make it easier to stuff, smash the top of the artichoke, top side down, against your cutting board. Wash and dry artichokes. To be certain that the water does not remain trapped in the leaves it is best to dry the artichoke upside down on a towel.

Sautée two large onions in olive oil until translucent. Salt and pepper to taste.
When stuffing the artichoke, always start from the top and work down toward the bottom. For this recipe, start ¼ of the way down from the top, otherwise there will be too much meat. Take large gumball-sized pieces of the meat mixture and gently place behind the leaves working down until all but the top ¼ of leaves are filled.

Line a large pot with olive oil. Place ¼ inch thick slices of potato at the bottom of the pot and lightly salt. This is done so that the artichokes do not burn (and they are a tasty addition to the meal.) Place the artichokes in the pot. Because of the size of the stuffed artichokes it may be difficult to fit them along the bottom of the pot and they may need to be layered against each other. It is important to keep in mind that in order for the stuffed artichokes to cook properly the lid will need to fit securely on top. Add tomato juice, diced tomatoes, ½ tsp salt and the remaining two sautéed onions over the top of the artichokes. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting every 25 minutes. When leaves can easily be pulled from the artichokes the meal is properly cooked.

Tips and Tricks:
– For large parties, consider placing artichokes in a turkey roasting pan, cooking on the stove with two burners. One turkey roaster can fit 8-10 artichokes.
– If additional meat remains after stuffing the artichokes, consider:
a) freezing it for another time as this stuffing can be used with many different vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers and potatoes (some of these vegetables need to be slightly hollowed before filling)
b) rolling meat into small rounded balls and then adding them to boiling chicken broth for a delicious meat and rice soup.

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